Posts Tagged ‘follow Jesus’

I have been watching The Chosen … again. Love these episodes, and right now, leading up to Easter, they are being broadcasted live every night at 7:30pm CDT.

If you haven’t seen these episodes that portray the lives of the disciples before Jesus chose them to follow Him as well as their spiritual development as they follow Jesus around Galilee and Samaria, I highly recommend them. They are free on YouTube, or on their downloadable free app. So far there are two seasons (16 episodes.) Five more seasons are planned.

Anyway… I decided I wanted a “Bing Jesus” bumper sticker from the gift store, also on the app. All proceeds go to help fund the actors’ salaries. The show itself is totally crowd-funded. Well, I got my sticker and went to pay. A message popped up – Leave or Cancel.

What? I don’t want to leave. I want to buy my item. And I don’t want to cancel my purchase. Not wanting to choose either, I was stuck. Which do I choose? Is there a third option?

I finally chose to leave, and it took me to my secure check out with my Google pay. Oh, okay. Got it.

Did you get it? When Jesus asked his disciples to follow Him, they had a choice. Leave or cancel. Because in order to follow, one has to leave, right? Leave what is normal. Leave what is comfortably status quo in your zone. Maybe leave preconceived ideas.

Or cancel out on the opportunity and return to what was. Don’t step out.

I had really never thought of how choosing to follow meant having to leave. But it does.

Thank goodness twelve brave men and several women in the first century Judea chose to leave. They walked into the unknown. Not perfectly. Not without hang-ups or preconceived notions. Even so, they took the first steps just as they were because Jesus saw their potential. True, one ended up canceling out and betraying Jesus later. Ten others ran into the night when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus.

But those ten didn’t click cancel. They had followed too long and learned too much to do that. They’d left the old behind.

Soon, after huddling in terror for three days waiting for themselves to be arrested as well and possibly suffer the same fate as their Master, the resurrected Jesus entered their midst again with the same message – leave. Get up and go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:20).

And they did. They left that upper room. They went into all nations.

Billions, perhaps trillions over the past two centuries have been affected by their choice to leave that day. As a result, the accounts of their lives are still read in a multitude of languages. And portrayed in films and streaming videos like The Chosen is doing now. Their choice is shared around dining room tables, on playgrounds, or by campfires. The impact of their choice to leave is still impacting us.

Each of us now has the same choice. Follow or stay put. Leave, or cancel.

Which will you choose? I leave it to you to decide.

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“I sing a song of the Saints of God,patient and brave and true …”

I grew up singing that song in church. Did you?

lay handsNovember 1 has for centuries been designated as the day we honor and pray for  the saints. In the Bible, the “saints” mentioned in the Psalms and the letters of Paul and John were living, breathing humans for whom we should pray, support, and emulate. Not the ones who are long gone with formal names and days venerated to them like St. John, St. Paul and St. Francis. Not  the dead– that is reserved for November 2, All Souls Day.  But, All Saints Day is the day we honor and thank God for the ordinary saints – folks just like you and me – who live their lives trying to live out the Gospel.

They love their Lord so dear, so dear, and His love made them strong; and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake, the hole of their good lives long…”

You know who they are. They may not have three miracles attributed to them or have been blessed by a pope, but their lives have influenced others to turn to Jesus. They are the ones we recall have been strong in times of turmoil, and positive even when it seemed the worse was happening to them.  They are the ones who are there when we need them, who reach out a  hand, and take the time to call even when it is not convenient for them. They are the ones we go to when we need clarity. The ones who know the Word because it is so a part of their lives. They are the ones who will wear out their knees in the wee hours for a stranger they heard or read about. Thy are the ones who silently scrub the commodes in the church or mow the lawn and never want any recognition.

“…you can meet them in school, or in lanes or at sea,  at church, or on trains, or in shops, or at tea…”

Think of the saints who have influenced you.  If they have passed on, thank God for them. If they are still on earth, why not write them, call them or even text them. Tell them you are praying for them. But above all,  thank them for being a shining example of what defines being a follower of Christ.  Let them know how much they have meant to you in your faith walk. Tell them, it is partially because of them that you can sing–

“…For the saints of God are folk just like me, and I mean to be one, too.”*

*Words by Lesbia Scott (b. 1898)

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